Thursday, July 02, 2015

The Lunatic GOP Base Loves Donald Trump

Donald Trump's GOP nomination campaign is continuing to provide huge entertainment value to those of us who like to see the insanity of today's Republican Party writ large.  The Donald seems hell bent to totally destroy the GOP brand with Hispanic voters much to the delight of the white supremacist party base.  I continue to look forward to the spectacle of Trump in the GOP candidate debates and love the thought of the so-called GOP establishment cringing in fear over what racist, batshit crazy statements will come from Trump.  Meanwhile, the knuckle dragging elements of the GOP base seem to be in love with Trump.  A piece in Slate looks at the GOP's unfolding nightmare.  Here are highlights:
There’s no world in which Donald Trump is a serious candidate for president. Republican elites don’t want him, Republican donors don’t want him, and if—through some cosmic fluke—he managed to win a major primary, every strategist and activist in the Republican Party would turn their aim toward him and his candidacy.

But just because Trump is an unqualified vanity candidate doesn’t mean he’s unimportant in the story of the 2016 GOP presidential primary. Unlike Chris Christie or Mike Huckabee—two vastly more legitimate candidates—Trump is popular with Republican voters. A new CNN national poll puts him in second place in the GOP field at 12 percent support—seven points behind the leader, Jeb Bush—while recent polls from Iowa and New Hampshire also show him with a second place spot in those crucial early contests. If Trump holds his position, he’ll be on stage with Bush, Scott Walker, and Marco Rubio when official debates start in August . . . .

“Why?”—why does Trump have a hold on this thick slice of the members of the Republican base? The answer is, unlike the professional politicians in the race, Trump is—from his views on immigration to the “issue” of Obama's citizenship—one of them.

He doesn’t have to do anything other than put himself on a debate stage and get publicity. And so, he says what he thinks.

The last time he entered the fray, in the runup to the 2012 primaries, this meant “birtherism,” the belief that Barack Obama was foreign-born and thus ineligible for the White House. For this round, it means casual xenophobia. “When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best,” he said during his presidential announcement last month. “They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists.”

Appalled, corporate America moved to break bonds with the real estate mogul. NBC ended its relationship with Trump, longtime host of Celebrity Apprentice and co-owner of the Miss USA and Miss Universe franchises. Macy’s dropped him from its stores, and Univision, the Spanish-language network with wide reach in the United States, cut its ties as well. On Wednesday, Trump replied: “Clearly, NBC and Macy’s support illegal immigration, which is totally detrimental to the fabric of our once great country.”

Through all of this, actual Republican voters not only weren’t bothered, they actually seemed supportive, as evidenced by Trump’s rise to near the top of the heap. The reason is clear. While Trump was out-of-bounds of mainstream conversation, he was well in the bounds of Republican Party politics and the kinds of rhetoric used there about Mexican and Latin American immigrants.

His complaints about “drugs,” “crime,” and “rapists,” for example, echo those from influential Iowa Rep. Steve King, the all-but-official leader of the GOP’s anti-immigration wing.   . . .
Trump also sounds like Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton, who—in the last month of his 2014 campaign against Democrat Mark Pryor—warned that terrorists were working with cartels to send fighters into the United States.

All of these claims—from drugs and disease to ISIS—were insane. But they reflected (and encouraged) a climate of anti-immigrant hostility in the Republican Party,

Trump doesn’t just represent the Republican base on immigration. He is the Republican base on immigration. His anxieties are their anxieties. And his rhetoric—a revanchist stew of foreign policy belligerence, small government ideology, anti-elite agitation, and raw bigotry—reflects and appeals to a meaningful part of the Republican electorate.

Get out the popcorn and enjoy the spectacle!!

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